Recent court documents reveal there’s more to the case of 2021’s viral “Victoria Secret Karen” video.
At the time, Ijeoma Ukenta, a black woman, was trying to redeem a coupon for free panties at a Victoria’s Secret store in New Jersey when a “Karen” allegedly attacked her and had a breakdown, screaming and rolling around on the ground.
Today, civil records filed in court reveal that “Karen,” Abigail Elphick, is disabled and has a long history of medical and psychological problems.
In July, nearly two years after the initial incident, Ukenta filed a civil suit against Elphick, Victoria’s Secret, the mall and its security company for negligence.
Elphick’s defense said her mental illness triggered depression because she feared the video would cause her to lose her job and housing.
Abigail Elphick, pictured during her monumental breakdown, says she is disabled and has a history of mental illness
In her lawsuit, Ukenta said that even though she knew she had been assaulted, Victoria’s Secret ignored what was happening and that when security finally arrived, they ignored her request to fire Elphick and failed to do so. to offer assistance or protection.
“They were extremely dismissive of him and were indifferent and nonchalant about his concerns about his safety. Despite being the victim, the complainant was further humiliated by mall security, her concerns were ignored and she was the one asked to leave the mall.
The viral moment began inside the Short Hills Mall in Millburn, New Jersey, when Ukenta asked Elphick to give him some space to enforce covid-19 restrictions at the time.
Things quickly escalated when the white woman slapped Ukenta as they stood near the registers before throwing the shirt she was holding onto the counter and burying her face in her hands.
‘Oh my God!’ » Ukenta said in the video, as Elphick crouched on the ground.
‘Do you see that? Oh my God, girl, I never thought something like this would happen to me. She just tried to run and hit me,” Ukenta continues.
Elphick cried out, “No, I didn’t!” I don’t want to be recorded.
“You saw that, didn’t you?” They all saw it, oh my God,” Ukenta continued.
“I didn’t try to hit you. I don’t want to be recorded. Stop STOP!’ Elphick said. “I didn’t try to hit you!” »
Elphick then collapses on the floor, face first, using her purse as a pillow – while store employees continue to check on other customers in the background.
The white woman was pictured first collapsing to the ground as she used her handbag as a pillow in the viral video.
The video ends with a store employee helping Ukenta with her purchases, as she tells the white woman, “Goodbye, Karen.”
In a second video, the chaotic incident appears to resume with Elphick lying on the ground and pointing her finger at Ukenta while convulsing on the ground and screaming, “She’s recording me!”
“You keep lying and saying I’m threatening you, so I’m recording to protect myself,” Ukenta retorts.
At one point, a woman appears to try to calm Elphick down, as the screaming white woman speaks with someone on the phone – apparently the police – while continuing to claim that Ukenta was “threatening” her.
“This is how black people die. You see that? Do you see what these people are doing? They cause panic and tell the police (unintelligible) when you clearly saw her chasing me around the store,” Ukenta said.
This woman tells Ukenta to put the camera down because she is “sick.”
“She’s lying on the phone, don’t tell me what to do.” She said I threatened her. I don’t care if she’s sick. I worry about myself,” Ukenta said.
In a third video, mall security finally appears where Ukenta details the situation to the “oblivious” mall security guard.
Cops eventually appeared in the fourth video, telling Ukenta that they “can’t kick her out,” referring to Elphick even though she attacked Ukenta on camera.
Ukenta’s lawsuit says she began recording as a way to protect herself, “fully aware that if the police were called, she, a black woman, might not be believed and could be seen as the aggressor.”
Ukenta posted the events in a series of videos that went viral on social media. She even posted a video filing a police report that reveals Elphick’s information.
Elphick’s lawyers say this resulted in numerous harassment calls, including threats against her and her family. She claims to have received death threats by telephone in April.
After apparently attacking the woman who was recording, Ijeoma Ukenta, the white woman said she did not want to be recorded.
They also claim that Ukenta used this opportunity to make money from a disabled woman.
“By using Elphick, a disabled person, Ukenta promoted a false narrative that misled the public into donating to help Ukenta supposedly defend himself against charges that, at that time, had not even not been filed against Ukenta.”
They claim Ukenta received $104,465 from about 5,000 people on GoFundMe. Meanwhile, others sympathized with her attacker due to her status as a disabled person.
“I was horrified. She had a seizure. Then the world we live in took over and it became something completely different from what it actually was. Tom Toronto, president of the United Way of Bergen County, which manages the housing complex where Ms. Elphick lives, told the New York Times.